One of the hardest parts of being
a small business owner human is dealing with the bullshit stories running through our heads.
Seriously, nothing will screw you up faster than listening to the stories that say you can’t, you shouldn’t, you’ll never be able to.
You’d think that certain people would have moved beyond this tendency.
Take me for example. I’m not exactly a Life Coach, but I’ve been trained as one by Barbara Sher, and the work I do definitely crosses over into Life Coaching from time to time. Not to mention, I’ve spent the greater portion of my life working on self-awareness, personal growth, all that sort of blah blah stuff.
And you know what? I am a MASTER at self-sabotaging with shitty stories.
Most recently, I’ve been struggling with finding the time and energy to work both on and in my business. As a borderline work-a-holic, this is not something I usually struggle with, but being pregnant… changes things.
I have less energy, and the need to spend more time taking care of myself means less time to take care of my business (I suck at self-care by the way, so this is more frustrating than it likely needs to be).
The last few months have been spent going in mental circles, trying to figure out how to adapt my work schedule to my current physical reality. Which mostly translates to, “I’ve been bitching and complaining about how much this sucks, without actually getting much accomplished.”*
*That’s not entirely true. I’ve actually accomplished quite a bit. It’s just less than I would have gotten done if I wasn’t pregnant, so my stupid brain is trying to convince me that I’ve basically gotten NOTHING done. This is how self-sabotaging shitty stories work people. It sucks.
So recently I was sharing my Story with a friend.
He’s also self-employed – he’s an amazing anime / pin up artist who’s done an impressive job supporting himself with his art for the last two years (so much for the “starving artist” myth!). Anywho, we were talking about the flow of inspiration – how when you’re feeling the “muse” you can stay up until 4 in the morning working on your art, then wake up at 8 and jump right back into it.
I used to LOVE working like that.
Since having my son (and especially since getting pregnant), I haven’t felt like that’s an option…
- I can’t stay up late, I have to get up early and take care of my son. (Story)
- I can’t work all hours of the day and night, I have to take care of my son. (Story)
- Now that I’m pregnant, I can’t get up early – I’m too tired, and sleep is important. (Story)
The thing about all these stories is that, on one level, they’re TRUE.
- I do have to take care of my son.
- I do have to take care of my pregnant self.
- Sleep is, in fact, important.
The problem with these stories is that all they do is focus on the problem, create a story around why it can’t be fixed, and then… stop.
There’s nowhere to go from there.
I’ve created an insurmountable wall too tall to get over, with a perfect excuse to not even try (that little nugget of irrefutable truth).
But you know what? That sucks. It’s time to change the story.
My friend Ray did an excellent job of calling me out on my shit.
“You have to find a way, you have to CHOOSE your calling. If it’s meaningful, you have to make it a priority.” (Not his exact words, but it’ll do for a summary.)
The funny thing is, ever since we had that talk, I’ve been waking up at 4am, unable to sleep. I’m overcome with inspiration and the need to get to work.
Yes, I still need to get up and take care of my son.
Yes, sleep is still important for my pregnant self.
But taking care of me & my family doesn’t have to create a barrier to taking care of my business. This isn’t “either / or” we’re talking about!
Instead of saying “I can’t get up early because then I’ll be too tired for my son / not getting the sleep my body needs,” I can choose to get up early, and then take a nap later in the day, while my son takes his.
By changing the story, I create an “and” situation instead of either / or.
I’m pretty much useless after 3pm anyway, so I may as well get up earlier and make the most of the time when I don’t feel nauseous and gross, right?!
In the meantime, I’ll be watching out for those nasty little self-sabotaging stories.
I can pretty much guarantee they’ll trip me up again at some point… but with a bit of self-awareness (and a LOT of help from friends who are willing to call me out on my bullshit), I know I can keep moving forward.
How about you?
What are the stories that have been holding you back?
How can you re-write them to find a way around the wall that seems insurmountable?